The Ashes are on the horizon, and the Australians are worried

Joe Root will set a record for the most Test wins by an England captain that will never be beaten. He has equalled my tally of 26 and will go past it very soon. I am delighted for him.

He now has a chance to put a number on the board that will stand the test of time. I think there will be less Test cricket in the future, players will not play as much because of the Indian Premier League and T20 leagues.

Joe will go on for a long time and his team after this victory reminds me of the one-day side in 2016, when it all started to come together for Eoin Morgan and England began to look like world champions in the making. I knew they were on to something special.

Joe Root’s England are set to come to Australia for the Ashes later this year.Credit:Getty Images

I now have that feeling about this Test team, because they have just taken on a high-quality India team in their own backyard and not just beaten them, but battered them.

I know speaking to people in Australia that they have realised that if they do not get their house in order then England will surprise them later this year. It is certainly not going to be 5-0 or 4-0 like the last couple of series in Australia. It cannot be with the way England are playing. It is hard to see anything going disastrously for them before the Ashes series.

What you need in Test cricket is hard-edged discipline to your game. Sometimes that is confused with being boring. It is completely different.

It is about playing a long game, which means being willing to bat for long periods and wear the opposition down, because the team who do the basics for the longest will win.

That is what England did in Chennai. Yes, the toss was massive and it might change if India win it and bat first next week. But England made the most of their advantage by batting for a long time.

The question with England is how they will follow up a good performance, because in the past they have regressed when they have had a lot of praise. They can get ahead of themselves, but now they seem to be very level and were calm in their celebrations as if they have realised it is not about going 1-0 up, it is about winning the series.

Joe led them very well. His was an exceptional innings. He is very disciplined, very driven and his bowling changes and tactical awareness of which bowlers to bowl to each batsman was great. Strategically he is very bright. He has a great bowler in James Anderson and a varied attack with the two spinners plus Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes. But it is about bowling them at the right time, and he did. I made it a 10 out of 10 captaincy performance.

Now I just hope England can be flexible. The situation with Jos Buttler going home is wrong. Surely England want him in the next Test? Surely he wants to play in it? India fear him. I know bio-bubbles are tough and it is a long, hard year, but rest him from the one-dayers and T20s. They are not as important as winning a Test series in India, or let him stay for one more game, at the same venue, then have a break. It is a remarkable achievement to win in India, and England have the chance to do something very special. Buttler must want to be part of it.

Sometimes there is one character who defines a team. For England it is Jack Leach. Yes, Stokes, Anderson, Root and Archer are world class. But Leach stands out for me as someone who epitomises what this England team is about.

He has got immense character and spirit. He has a lot of self-doubt but he keeps going. He bounced back from that pummelling by Rishabh Pant and the way he bats down the order with such courage proves his inner fight. It tells you the team are together. Every team need a Leach or Dom Sibley alongside world-class players. They are not necessarily the most talented players but they have the biggest strength of all, which is wanting to fight for the team.

Anderson has played two Tests in a row and been the difference in both. Two years ago I was criticised for saying Anderson and Stuart Broad should not play together, but it has been the right approach. They are fresher and have a point to prove. Perhaps they should play together in the floodlit third Test, but that is it. By picking one, it widens the pool with Archer, Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Mark Wood getting a chance to step up. It adds to the bowling stocks.

It has been the right approach for Anderson and Broad, and it is right for English cricket.

The Telegraph, London

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